This November, Maine voters will have at least one non-partisan referendum to vote on — raising Maine’s minimum wage.

In 2014, Republicans enjoyed a very successful election across the country. Yet, even in perennial red states (Arkansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska) in an election that turned out large numbers of conservative voters, red state voters overwhelmingly approved referendums designed to raise the minimum wage. So one would surmise that a purple state like Maine would vote to give underpaid workers a long overdue raise.

The most compelling reasons to raise Maine’s minimum wage center on the disproportionate amount of suffering that working women, single mothers and their children endure, due to unfairly low wages.

The statistics cannot be ignored: 70 percent of all tipped workers are women, 40 percent of whom are mothers. Women working for a sub-minimum wage are three times more likely to live below the poverty line. Also, because these working women rely on their customers for life-sustaining tips, they are more likely to endure sexual harassment and touching (the restaurant industry accounts for the largest single source of reported sexual harassment complaints). This should be quite unsettling for anyone with a daughter, wife, or sister working for sub-minimum wage/tips.

The referendum smartly plans for tipped workers to attain the same minimum wage as other workers by 2024, providing for all to earn a living wage.

An affirmative vote, raising the minimum wage, is a positive vote for every hard-working Mainer.

Bruce Noddin, Lewiston

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